The Summer Sessons 2005
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I turned my film into a summer project for my arts school, where it was greatly enjoyed by all who saw it. This is part of my artist statement regarding the film, it describes my experiences with making the film:
This summer, I knew from the get go that I'd be doing some traveling to places that, unlike most of Nebraska, were not flat. So like always, I planned to bring a couple various kinds of boards along with me, to take full advantage of the terrain availble where I was going. As a result of these anticipated trips, I came up with an idea. I came up with a plan to capture the boarding on video, not for others to see, but for myself. This idea came to me for two different reasons.
I've always enjoyed watching snowboard films, because I am a total snowboard addict, and when I see other people board I can try to imagine myself being in their place. But the problem I've found with most snowboard films is that, for instance, I can't imagine myself doing a backside rodeo over a 120 foot gap in Utah. It's not that I fear Mormons, its just that that's not the kind of riding I'm into, I don't even know what a backside rodeo involves, nor do I care!
Ever since the big powder day with no pictures three years ago, I've become very determined to always take pictures when I travel for boarding. Pictures have always been nice, but to capture more of the experience, I knew that I would have to use video. I've always known that shooting video would be a much more time consuming process then still pictures. I knew the effort would be well spent though, as I would then be able to relive the amazing experiences I knew I would be having
For me, a big challenge of this project was mentally pushing myself to take the extra effort to get the footage, which was at times difficult. For example, for the Vermont Backwoods Mountainboarding, the flowboarding segments and The Pillow Run, I did all the filming by myself. I would set the camera on the tripod, and film the run in segments. That involved a lot of running back up the hill, all the while losing lots of tape. It also meant that because of the distraction caused by the taping, some of my riding I would consider sub par. The Vermont Backwoods filming was unquestionably the most difficult to shoot. The mosquitos were so unbelieveably bad that no one else would even hike up with me, let alone shoot footage. In fact, my dad claimed on his only hike up that the buzzing and biting of the mosquitos nearly drove him insane with rage.
Just before I began shooting, I began to toy with the idea of making this into a film I could show other people . With this idea came a new challenge I never thought of before, the audience. I knew that for the audience to enjoy this film at all, I would have to pay attention to aspects other then just my boarding. With this in mind, I began shooting film not only of boarding, but also of the hikes up to the boarding spots. Along with this came the idea for me to explain, either by talking on screen or typed on screen, exactly what was going on at the boarding location.
With the boarding, I knew in order to make it interesting I would need to use different shot angles to highlight certain features of each section of the run I thought stood out. For instance, for the first Flowboard segment, I knew that a unique ability of the board was that it can do a slash maneuver similar to a snowboard. So, I placed the camera on the road and came down the hill on the board real close to the camera and did a small slash maneuver. Another technique I used for the boarding involved matching certain parts of the music, like a drum or cymbal hit, to coincide with an on screen action. This type of thing occured in the snowboarding segment, when the camera zooms in on me crawling up the slope, and then fades out along with a cymbal crash. Fortunetly for me, when it came time to edit the film on the computer, some of the music to film matchings were very close, so I easily noticed them and perfected their timing. Unfortunetly though, editing the footage on the computer was at times difficult, due to the fact that Windows Movie Maker is a crappy program with few features to speak of.
Despite the dificulty in editing, I'm quite happy with how the footage I took looks in the final product. When I began shooting footage, I had no other films to go off of for methods on ways to shoot my riding. Basically, I thought in my mind how I wanted a shot to look with me riding through it, and then I set the camera/tripod in a way so that I could get that shot. Most of the time it worked well, which surprised me.
My sustainable landscape is composed of mountainboarding, flowboarding, snowboarding, and the environment in which each sport takes place. When it comes to the board sports of snow, flow and mountain, it's clear in my mind that they have become an integral part of my life. When I first learned to snowboard five years ago, I left the slopes with a new sensation in life. Since then, I've constantly craved this sensation. The weightless feeling I get riding a snowboard through powder is impossible to put into words. Snowboarding is like a drug, and I get my natural high by riding. But once I'm off the slopes, it's impossible to put the sensation and experience into words.
Flowboarding and Mountainboarding are meerely substitutes for the ultimate high, that is snowboarding. The two alternative board sports, as they are sometimes known, each deliver an aspect of snowboardings sensation. Flowboarding delivers the maneuvers and flowing sensation you get while snowboarding. Doing big carves on the Flowboard, as seen in the film's first Flowboard segment, are very reminiscent of big snowboard carves on a wide open ski run. The second Flowboard segment, on the bike path, displayed very tight carves, similar to that of snowboarding through trees.
Mountainboarding on the other hand taps into the excitement and adrenaline factor. Riding a mountainboard can be a very frightening experience. Such as the case when riding down a gravel road, like in the Colorado Mountainboard segment. Sometimes, the rear of the board will begin to fish tail. All of a sudden, it feels like I'm about to lose all control and get a face full of gravel. Times like that get my adrenaline pumping, just like bombing down a steep face on a snowboard, when all of a sudden I hit an icy patch and lose all edge control. I am not a huge adrenaline junkie, but I do enjoy rough trail rides through the forest on a mountainboard, as seen in the Vermont Backwoods segment.
Like I said before though, there is no substitute for snowboarding. And when It comes down to which segment of the film is my favorite, the Southern Colorado Summer Snowboarding easily wins. Looking back on that experience, I still can't believe I was there. The amount of snow I found on July second was amazing. The Continental Divide peaks were crowned in snow, even though I was so far south, only 30 or so miles north of the New Mexico border.
Hiking up the divide was breathtaking, in that I could see for miles and miles, and see many high jagged mountain peaks. When it came to finding a snowfield to snowboard on, the challenge wasn't if I was going to find a good field, it was deciding on one. Once I picked a field and did my first run, I had a huge smile on my face. Even though I was riding slushy snow rather then dry powder, I had once again achieved the wonderful sensation. Now, whenever I watch the footage of myself snowboarding down that snowfield, I can't help but smile as I feel the muscles in my legs tense up as I'm dropping in. But also when I watch it, I get a tear in my eye probably because the part of my mind that craves the sensation of snowboarding sees me riding on screen, yet in reality I'm sitting still.
producer: Ben Kreimer
director: Ben Kreimer
editor: Ben Kreimer
cinematographer: Ben Kreimer
assistant Cinematographers: Joe Billesbach(Summer Snowboarding) Gary and Steve(Colorado Mountainboarding)
Mos Def- Umi Says(zero 7 remix)
Heiroglyhpics- You Never Know
Iron Maiden- Run to the Hills
Colorado mountainboarding, flowboarding Nebraska, mountainboarding Nebraska, flowboarding Nebraska, mountainboarding Vermont, snowboarding Colorado.
Subject: The Summer Sessons 2005
Subject: Very enjoyable!